Modest NSAID Usage in Working Age Adults Linked to Greater Risk of Kidney Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alan Nelson, MPAS, PhD
Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Department of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: The past research literature has provided relatively little information on the appropriate level of concern regarding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and kidney disease risk among younger, apparently healthy patients. Clinicians are generally most concerned about the effects of these medications on the kidneys among patients with existing renal impairment and persons at risk for it, especially older patients.

Given that NSAID use appears to be high and rising in the US, we were interested in developing evidence on this topic in a population of working-age adults.

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Study Evaluates Thyroid Hormone Suppression For High Risk Thyroid Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.Sc. Assistant Clinical Investigator/Assistant Professor Metabolic Disease Branch/NIDDK/NIH Bethesda, MD

Dr. Klubo-Gwiezdzinska

Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.Sc.
Assistant Clinical Investigator/Assistant Professor
Metabolic Disease Branch/NIDDK/NIH
Bethesda, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: People with intermediate- and high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) are treated with surgical removal of the thyroid gland and radioactive iodine therapy.  After surgery and initial treatment, the thyroid hormone levothyroxine is used for long-term management not only to replace appropriate physiologic thyroid hormones post-surgery, but also to suppress thyrotropin (TSH) release from the pituitary gland at supraphysiologic doses.

The current recommended American Thyroid Association TSH suppression goal in patients with a high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer presenting with distant metastases is less than 0.1mIU/ml, and between 0.1-0.5 mIU/ml for patients with intermediate-risk DTC presenting with local metastases to the neck lymph nodes. This TSH goal is much lower than physiologic TSH level, which ranges between 0.4-4.1 mIU/ml, depending on the measurement method and person’s age.

TSH suppression is used because some preclinical evidence suggests that TSH can stimulate growth of cancer cells.  However, several preclinical studies show that thyroid hormones may also stimulate cancer growth. In addition, too much levothyroxine, leading to TSH suppression, may cause side effects such as abnormal heart rhythms and decreased bone mass.

In this study, based on a large multicenter database analysis, we found that continuous TSH suppression with levothyroxine was not associated with better progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with either intermediate- and high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer. The patients were followed for an average of 7 years after surgical thyroid cancer removal and radioactive iodine therapy.  Continue reading

Not All Hospital Readmissions Are Preventable but READI Protocol Can Assist in Some Cases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881

Dr. Weiss

Marianne Weiss DNSc RN
READI study Principal Investigator
Professor of Nursing and
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health
Marquette University College of Nursing
Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our team of researchers has been studying the association of patient readiness for discharge and readmission for several years. We have previously documented that patients who had ‘low readiness’ on our Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale were more likely to be readmitted. In this study we added structured protocols for discharge readiness assessment and nurse actions to usual discharge care practices to determine the optimal protocol configuration to achieve improved post-discharge utilization outcomes.

In our primary analysis that included patients from a broad range of patient diagnoses, we did not find a significant effect on readmission from adding any of the discharge readiness assessment protocols. The patient sample came from Magnet hospitals, known for high quality care, and the average all-cause readmission rates were low (11.3%).

In patients discharged from high-readmission units (>11.3%), one of the protocols was effective in reducing the likelihood of readmission. In this protocol, the nurse obtained the patients self-report of discharge readiness to inform the nurse’s discharge readiness assessment and actions in finalizing preparations for discharge. This patient-informed discharge readiness assessment protocol produced a nearly 2 percentage point reduction in readmissions. Not unexpectedly, in lower readmission settings, we did not see a reduction in readmission; not all readmissions are preventable.

In the last phase of study, we informed nurses of a cut-off score for ‘low readiness’ and added a prescription for nurse action only in cases of ‘low readiness’; this addition to the protocol added burden to the nurses’ daily work and eliminated the beneficial effects, perhaps because it limited the nurse’s attention to only a subset of patients. 

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Primary Care Doctor Visit After Discharge Reduced Hospital Readmission Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Dawn Wiest, 7-day pledge after hospital admissionDawn Wiest, PhD
Director, Action Research & Evaluation
Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Understanding the role of care transitions after hospitalization in reducing avoidable readmissions, the Camden Coalition launched the 7-Day Pledge in 2014 in partnership with primary care practices in Camden, NJ to address patient and provider barriers to timely post-discharge primary care follow-up. To evaluate whether our program was associated with lower hospital readmissions, we used all-payer hospital claims data from five regional health systems. We compared readmissions for patients who had a primary care follow-up within seven days with similar patients who had a later or no follow-up using propensity score matching.

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Female Radiation Oncologists Less Likely to Receive Industry Payments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA

Dr. Raldow

Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
David Geffen School of Medicine
UCLA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value.

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VA Wait Times Now Often Shorter Than in Private Sector

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Shulkin, MD Ninth Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Washington, District Of Columbia Shulkin Solutions LLC Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

Dr. Shulkin

David Shulkin, MD
Ninth Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, District Of Columbia
Shulkin Solutions LLC
Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: I came to VA in 2015 as Under Secretary for Health, as a result of the 2014 wait time crisis.  At that time, it was determined that in some locations, veterans had been waiting for care for too long and there were allegations that this had resulted in harm to a number of veterans.  I was in the private sector at the time, but was asked by President Obama to come and help improve the situation.

Upon my arrival we created systems to determine which veterans were waiting for urgent healthcare and which ones for routine care.  From here, we established same day services for all veterans waiting for urgent care through primary care and behavioral health access points.  This goal was achieved nationwide at the end of 2016.  When I became Secretary in 2017,  we began publishing our wait time data for all to see, so that veterans had accurate information on which to base their choices on and to provide transparency into where we were improving and where we needed to focus our efforts.  In addition, through programmatic and legislative efforts, we expanded our utilization of private sector options so that veterans with clinical needs would be able to get better access to care.

This study was meant to determine whether our efforts from 2014 had resulted in improvements to access and in addition how access to care in the VA compared to access in the private sector.   Despite limitations in the data available from the private sector (since others do not publish their actual wait time data similar to VA) we used a data set that we felt had some applicability for these comparisons.

We found that for the most part, VA wait times are often shorter than in the private sector,  and that VA wait times had improved since 2014 while the private sectors access had stayed the same.  Continue reading

WHO: Profits Outweigh R&D Costs of New Cancer Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Kiu Tay-Teo

Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: High costs and high risks of R&D for drugs have been presented to justify high drug prices, especially for cancer drugs. However, it is unclear whether prices are in fact justifiable compared to the overall return on R&D investment.

In this paper, we systematically compared incomes from the sales of cancer drugs with the R&D costs. We quantified the incomes generated from the sales of 99 cancer drugs approved by FDA from 1989–2017. This was based on sales figures reported in the originator companies’ annual financial reports, and where necessary, estimates deduced from the reported figures. The sales incomes were net of rebates and discounts, but without accounting for expenses and taxes. For the R&D costs of bringing one new cancer drug to the market, the literature reported a typical costs of between $219 million and $2.9 billion, after accounting for the costs of failed products that were investigated but not marketed and the opportunity costs. For the main analysis, we used a median cost of $794 million, as reported in the literature. To be clear, this analysis did not estimate profit return because we do not have information about the costs and year-to-year variations in costs (i.e. expenses and taxes) specific to cancer drugs.

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Less Time in the Womb Linked to Less Education and Income in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
"Pregnancy 1" by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0Josephine Funck Bilsteen, MSc
Department of Pediatrics, Hvidovre University Hospital, Hvidovre,
Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The background of this study is that there is increasing recognition of the longer-term health and social outcomes associated with preterm birth such as independent living, quality of life, self-perception and socioeconomic achievements. However, much less is known about differences in education and income among adults born at different gestational weeks in the term period.

In this study shorter gestational duration, even within the term range, was associated with lower chances of having a high personal income and having completed a secondary or tertiary education at age 28 years. This is the first study to show that adults born at 37 and 38 completed weeks of gestation had slightly lower chances of having a high income and educational level than adults born at 40 completed weeks of gestation.  Continue reading

Computer Simulation Study Favors Tomosynthesis over Digital Mammography

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aldo Badano, Ph.D. Deputy Director, Division of Imaging, Diagnostics, and Software Reliability Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories Center for Devices and Radiological Health Silver Spring, MD 20993

Aldo Badano, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Division of Imaging, Diagnostics, and Software Reliability
Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories
Center for Devices and Radiological Health Silver Spring, MD 20993 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Expensive and lengthy clinical trials can delay regulatory evaluation of innovative technologies, affecting patient access to high-quality medical products. Although computational modeling is increasingly being used in product development, it is rarely at the center of regulatory applications.

Within this context, the VICTRE project attempted to replicate a previously conducted imaging clinical trial using only computational models. The VICTRE trial involved no human subjects and no clinicians. All trial steps were conducted in silico. The fundamental question the article addresses is whether in silico imaging trials are at a mature development stage to play a significant role in the regulatory evaluation of new medical imaging systems. The VICTRE trial consisted of in silico imaging of 2986 virtual patients comparing digital mammography (DM) and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) systems.

The improved lesion detection performance favoring DBT for all breast sizes and lesion types was consistent with results from a comparative trial using human patients and radiologists.  Continue reading

Majority of Patients Withhold Important Information From Their Health Care Providers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gurmankin Levy

Dr. Andrea Gurmankin Levy, PhD MBE
Department of Social Sciences
Middlesex Community College, Middletown, Connecticut

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: It is so important for clinicians to get accurate information from their patients so that they can make accurate diagnoses and appropriate recommendations. But we know that people tend to withhold information from others, and that this is especially true when it comes to sensitive information. And in fact, in medicine, there is a long-standing conventional wisdom that clinicians need to adjust patients’ answers (e.g., doubling patients’ report of alcohol consumption) to get a more accurate picture. So we wanted to explore this. How many patients withhold medically-relevant information from their clinicians, and why do they do so?  There have been surprisingly few studies looking at this question in a comprehensive way.

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Chronic Kidney Disease Rate Rising Faster Than Other Noncommunicable Diseases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, MD Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Education Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System

Dr. Al-Aly

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, MD
Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Education
Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System
Institute for Public Health
Washington University, St. Louis MO

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: A lot has changed in the US over the past 15 years including aging, population growth, and increased exposure to risk factors such as obesity, elevated blood pressure, etc. With all of these changes, we wondered, how did the burden of kidney disease change in the United States over the past 15 years.
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